Fighting for Florida
Jul 02 2015
By Marco RubioLast week, after months of delay, the State Department released its annual congressionally mandated 2014 Human Rights Report. Each year, the U.S. assesses the status of human rights in countries across the world. The report’s findings paint a grim picture of assaults on human dignity from Tehran to Havana, from Beijing to Caracas.
The annual report provides an opportunity for the U.S. to highlight countries that have improved their human rights records, while at the same time exposing countries that have failed to uphold their citizens’ most basic rights. While reports such as these do not alone inform U.S. foreign policy, they are a critical window into areas of need around the world. Time and again, I have encouraged this Administration to elevate the promotion and protection of basic human rights and religious freedom as a cornerstone of American foreign policy. Sadly, this has not been a priority for the Obama Administration, and the world is worse off for it.
The 2014 Human Rights Report highlighted human rights atrocities committed by terrorist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Boko Haram, now an official affiliate of ISIS. These Islamist terrorist organizations attacked and killed thousands of innocent, men, women and children, specifically targeting minority ethnic and religious groups. In Iraq and Syria, Christians and Yezidis were ruthlessly killed, abducted and expelled from their homes. In Nigeria, Boko Haram’s human rights abuses reached unprecedented levels, including the kidnapping, raping, and trafficking of 273 female students from Chibok, most of whom were Christians.
Freedom of expression was limited by governments in China, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Russia and Saudi Arabia. These governments employed tactics such as imprisonment of journalists, bloggers, and non-violent critics, as well as censorship of media. In fact the report highlighted the role of technology in “combatting as well as carrying out human rights violations.”
In China, the government has unabashedly cracked down on civil society, stifled dissent, repressed religious believers and ethnic minorities, and silenced critics. In the lead-up to the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre last year, Chinese authorities further clamped down by detaining, disappearing or questioning more than 150 lawyers, activists, journalists and dissidents.
The government of Iran continued to severely restrict its citizens’ civil liberties, arbitrarily detaining at least 895 political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, including the following three Americans: journalist Jason Rezaian, Pastor Saeed Abedini, and former Marine Amir Hekmati . Additionally the Iranian government is refusing to provide information on Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who has been missing since 2007.
Cuba remains a serious abuser of human rights with an estimated 8,899 uses of short-term detentions in 2014, an increase from 6,424 in 2013. On June 21, during a peaceful protest in Holguin, state police officers allegedly arrested and beat a Lady in White member, Magaly Norvis Otero, who was eight months pregnant at that point and subsequently miscarried.
During the press briefing following the release of the report, several enterprising reporters rightly seized on the seeming inconsistency between the findings documented in the report and the Administration’s conciliatory posture toward the regimes in Iran and Cuba.
As pointedly as I may disagree with President Obama, I am grateful to live in a country where I am free to do so. As Americans prepare to celebrate the independence of our own Republic, we are reminded of the fundamental truths enshrined in our founding documents—revolutionary notions of self-governance, universal human dignity, and God-given rights. For over two centuries, the world has been a better place because America has worked to defend these fundamental human rights at home and abroad.
By Marco RubioEarlier today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in the case of Zivotofsky v. Kerry. The court determined that Congress cannot require the U.S. Department of State to recognize that an individual born in Jerusalem can be listed on U.S.-issued passports as having been born in Israel.
The court’s decision has now left this issue solely in the hands of this and future administrations to determine whether to recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel for the purpose of issuing passports.
The administration’s policy makes no sense. They somehow maintain that all of Jerusalem is disputed territory.
Individuals born in Jerusalem should be listed in U.S. passports as having been born in Israel if they or their families so desire, and I hope this administration and future ones will change the policy, while also working to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, which is and will always remain Israel’s capital.
Jun 01 2015
Apr 23 2015
By Senator Marco Rubio
Today we join the nation of Israel in celebrating Yom Ha'atzmaut, or Israeli Independence Day, which commemorates the signing of the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948. We mark this occasion at a time when Israel’s very existence is threatened by numerous enemies, and when those threats are exacerbated by the unfortunate reluctance of this administration to stand on the side of the Israeli people.
Despite the immense challenges Israel has faced since gaining its independence, it has become the great success story of the Middle East. It is everything we want the region to look like: free, prosperous, democratic, aligned with America, peace-loving, and invested in creating an even better future for its people. Despite its inherent strength, Israel is a small country, at its narrowest point only 9 miles wide, and it is surrounded by nations and non-state actors bent on its destruction.
Anytime there is daylight between America and Israel, it emboldens Israel’s enemies to take action. On this day, and every day, the United States must commit to standing unequivocally with Israel to prevent violence and aggression from threatening its hard-won – and hard-kept – independence as the sacred home of the Jewish people. Today, Jeanette and I wish the people of Israel a happy, peaceful and safe Yom Ha'atzmaut.
Apr 04 2015
Apr 03 2015
By Marco Rubio
A half-century has passed since more than 600 civil rights demonstrators gathered together to make the 54 mile march from Selma, Alabama to the state capital in Montgomery. While they were met with violence by state troopers not long after they began, their patient dedication to nonviolent resistance - even in the face of such harrowing brutality - stirred the conscience of our nation and the entire world. The vision of these marchers was simple, yet profound: that America must fulfill the promise made in her founding documents by allowing all citizens to access their God-given rights. Their efforts led to major progress later that year with the passage of the Voting Rights Act.
America is the greatest nation in history, but our history is not without its dark chapters. Slavery, and the discrimination that followed it, violated our founding ideal that everyone deserves an equal shot at success. Today, we still carry on the fight for equal opportunity. We still have work ahead of us to rid our nation of injustice and bring the American Dream within reach of everyone. But on this day, we remember the Selma march, one of many instances in our history when the courage of a few who dared to stand up to injustice led to a better America for all.
Feb 05 2015
By Senator Marco Rubio
As I have done each year since I have been in the United States Senate, today I filed the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA), which works to prevent abortions by minors by giving states the ability to enforce their parental notification and consent laws. These laws give our nation’s daughters a chance to receive important advice and guidance before undergoing a serious procedure for which they may not be emotionally or medically prepared.
While abortion remains a divisive issue, most Americans support this focused legislation: More than 75% of Americans believe that parents should be involved before their child gets an abortion, as most states already require. And more than 80% of Americans believe that an individual should not be able to take a minor across state lines for an abortion without her parents’ knowledge.
CIANA addresses these concerns by putting into law what already unites the vast majority of Americans: when children face a life-changing event such as unexpected pregnancy, their parents should be involved.
Feb 05 2015
By Senator Marco Rubio
Once again the FCC is trying to wedge an expansive government into more corners of the free market, this time through unnecessary and heavy-handed regulations on the Internet. What FCC Chairman Wheeler is proposing threatens to restrict Internet growth, increase costs on users, and inevitably stifle the economic opportunity that the Internet currently provides.
This policy also ignores the significant litigation vulnerabilities that could arise from reclassification, which creates greater uncertainty and jeopardizes critical investments in broadband. Instead of the FCC forcing this significant policy change on the American people, Congress should work to update outdated laws from a bygone era in order to provide clarity on the FCC’s role in the modern communications landscape.
Jan 22 2015
By Senator Marco Rubio
Every year, thousands of Americans come together to defend the defenseless and stand for human life at the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. And every year, I am proud to support these efforts and the simple truth that all human life is sacred. Today, I had the honor of meeting with a group of about 55 South Florida students and pro-life supporters, as well as seminarians from St. Vincent De Paul, of Boynton Beach. I commend everyone who marched today at the 42nd annual March for Life, and all those who continue to protect the lives of the innocent and unborn.
Pictures of today’s visit are available below: